H: 34.7 cm, L: 3.3 cm (H: 13.6 in, L: 1.2 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum Purchase. X76.673a,b
Decorated rhythm clappers are rare among the Asante and other Akan peoples, but women play unornamented examples in a variety of popular bands (agoro) that perform on special occasions or simply for the entertainment of their members. It is not unusual to see ten or more women playing these instruments in some of the larger groups. The relief carvings on the clappers undoubtedly refer to proverbs. For example, the ladder typically depicts the maxim “The ladder of death is not climbed by one man alone,” that is, death is inevitable. Funerals are one of the primary contexts for popular band performances, and thus this imagery reminds members of the ephemeral nature of human life.
Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 254